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06.06.2022

Are Bengal cats hypoallergenic? Handy tips for new cat parents

Bengals are excellent companions to allergy-prone people, but there are no fully hypoallergenic cats.

So, the answer to the question “Are Bengal cats hypoallergenic?” is no. The good news is that they are less likely to cause allergies than other kitties, such as Maine Coons, Persians, and Norwegian Forest cats

Untamed explains:

  • What makes Bengals less likely to provoke allergic reactions than other breeds?
  • How will you know whether you’re allergic to your Bengal kitty?
  • Can allergy-prone humans live with these adorable miniature leopards?

Why are some people allergic to felines?

Allergies occur when our immune system reacts to foreign substances, sees them as harmful, and produces antibodies to fight them off. When exposed to particular allergens, our bodies typically set off an inflammatory response in the nasal passages and lungs, resulting in mild to extreme reactions. 

An allergic reaction can also be skin irritation, while more severe symptoms include extreme swelling and anaphylaxis.

What do you mean you can’t be in the same room with me?

Source: Paul Hanaoka

Why are Bengals less likely to cause allergic reactions than other breeds?

Even though many people assume that cat fur is the culprit behind an allergic reaction, that isn’t true. Dander (dead skin) is the biggest concern for people with allergies because it’s tiny, airborne, and accumulates easily on furniture and clothes. 

Besides dander, other common allergy triggers are:

  1. Saliva
  2. Urine and poo
  3. Sweat
  4. Tears
  5. Mucous

They all contain a protein called Fel d1, responsible for allergic reactions to cats. It’s light and sticky, which allows it to linger and cause sneezing even if your feline’s not in the room. While some breeds produce low amounts of Fel d1, the Bengal cat isn’t one of them. 

Why are Bengal cats considered hypoallergenic? Since all the substances mentioned in the list stay on felines’ fur, cats that shed excessively are more likely to cause discomfort to allergic people. Bengals have a single-layer coat and shed less, so humans living with Bengals don't come into contact with Fel d1 as often.

Bengal’s coat is short and stuck to their body. It gives them a sleek and silky look and doesn’t get dirty quickly, which reduces the need for self-grooming. Less grooming means less shedding, so Fel d1 doesn't end up everywhere. 

Signs you might be allergic to your Bengal cat

Even though Bengals don't often cause allergies, you should be careful if you have a history of allergic reactions to cats or if you're a new parent. Before getting a Bengal kitty, you should spend some time (at least 24 hours) with them to check if you have a reaction. 

Your sneezing is getting in the way of my cuddles, hooman! Pull yourself together!

Source: Paul Hanaoka

Symptoms can be mild but also extreme, especially if you suffer from asthma or chronic bronchitis. Consult the following table for the most common signs of allergies:

Mild symptoms

Extreme symptoms

  • Sneezing and a runny nose
  • Red, watery, and itchy eyes
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Swollen under-eyes
  • Hives with swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing sound while exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Severe skin rash

Juggling Bengal cats and allergies—is it possible?

People with milder symptoms should be able to adopt a Bengal kitty without much trouble. Low-intensity allergies are treatable with antihistamines, such as cetirizine and levocetirizine. With proper care and suitable precautions, you can probably skip meds. 

Doctors advise those with more extreme symptoms against living with cats. Prolonged exposure can lead to great discomfort and even anaphylactic shock in the most severe cases. Avoiding contact with the allergen is the only way to protect yourself, so sharing your space with a cat would be dangerous.

To help you and your feline coexist as comfortably as possible, you’ll need to make alterations on three different levels:

  1. Personal habits and hygiene
  2. Environmental conditions
  3. Feline care

Personal habits and hygiene 

If you suffer from allergies, you must find ways to limit your exposure to your Bengal kitty, no matter how adorable they are. You should:

  1. Avoid kissing and cuddling your feline (this might be hard since Bengals are friendly and affectionate, but it’s necessary)
  2. Wash your hands after petting or grooming your furry friend
  3. Train them to stay out of your bedroom
  4. Have someone else clean their litter box or teach them to do their business outside

If your allergies act up despite these precautionary measures, you will have to resort to medication. Contact your doctor to determine the best course of action, especially if you plan on using antihistamines, decongestants, or allergy shots over a longer period.

Environmental conditions

Taking care of your surroundings is essential in minimising allergy symptoms. Maintaining good hygiene in your home is critical, and it refers to the air and surfaces. Make sure to: 

  • Use an air purification system—Since Fel d1 is airborne and tends to linger for a while, investing in a system such as HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) can help you get rid of these particles quickly. Avoid using regular fans and ACs in rooms your kitty frequently visits
  • Clean all surfaces regularly—Cat parents with allergies must clean their space thoroughly on a daily basis. Since allergens stick to rugs, furniture, and clothes, you must leave no surface unturned. Use microfiber cleaning materials because fur clings to them well. Another way to prevent Fel d1 from accumulating in your home is to get rid of rugs and drapes

The drapes can go, but my rug stays!

Source: Caleb Woods

Feline care

Taking care of your Bengal will do wonders for their health and longevity and keep your allergies at bay. Pay attention to:

  1. Grooming—Although Bengals don’t need to be groomed as much as other breeds, brushing and wiping them with a damp cloth will prevent loose dander from spreading throughout your home
  2. Nutrition—A healthy diet maintains the hydration and the overall quality of your Bengal’s skin. Feeding your feline a top-notch diet high in animal protein will prevent dry and flaky skin, and your nose will finally catch a break

How can proper nutrition help?

You cannot fully eliminate cat allergies, but proper nutrition will help reduce your Bengal’s shedding, preventing allergens from reaching you. Creating a perfectly balanced diet will help your kitty’s skin and coat stay hydrated and minimise dander

The pillars of any feline’s diet are:

  1. Animal protein
  2. Animal fat

Animal protein

Our feline companions are obligate carnivores. Feeding them high-quality meat and fish, such as chicken, turkey, tuna, and salmon, is the only way to ensure they develop:

  • Strong muscles 
  • Healthy skin
  • Silky coat

Ideally, your Bengal’s diet should have more than 50% of animal protein to get enough taurine—an essential amino acid responsible for maintaining the proper function of organs, muscles, and the CNS (central nervous system). 

Do you think this fabulous coat maintains itself? I neeeeeed meeeeeaaaaat!

Source: Kim Davies

If your Bengal doesn’t get enough animal protein in their diet, it’ll affect the quality of their coat, resulting in your allergies acting up. Plant proteins are not a suitable replacement—felines cannot break them down. Peas, carrots, and broccoli are not toxic or dangerous for cats, but they cannot deliver the necessary nutrients to keep your feline healthy. 

Animal fat

Animal fat can be a viable secondary energy source for kitties. Fatty acids from animal fat play a vital role in keeping your Bengal's skin and coat in perfect condition.

If your Bengal's a fussy eater who avoids wet, dry, raw or any other type of food, try offering them a meal with sufficient amounts of animal fat and see how quickly they'll tuck into it. Animal fat is a superior taste booster, and kitties cannot resist it.

Keep the percentage of fat in your feline’s diet below 20% to avoid weight gain and related issues, such as obesity and diabetes

Food your Bengal should avoid

When it comes to coat maintenance, avoiding certain nutrients is as important as incorporating the right ones. Make sure your cat stays away from:

Wet, dry, or raw—which food is the best for your Bengal’s skin and coat?

Bengals should get a daily dose of wet canned food for healthy and hydrated skin and fur. Failing to maintain this balance and overloading your feline’s diet with kibble can lead to:

  • Flaky skin and poor-quality fur—Dehydration caused by the lack of moisture can cause the loss of elasticity in the skin 
  • Weight gain—Since dry food is high in calories, overconsumption can lead to obesity (especially in adult cats because they don’t need as many calories as kittens)
  • Common feline diseases—Dry food may increase the risk of developing diabetes, constipation, UTIs, and similar issues

A raw diet carries the risk of food poisoning and bacterial infections because meat from the human supply chain is susceptible to contamination during storing and handling. If you want to give your cat raw meat, you must stick to the strictest sanitary protocols.

Untamed has the best food for your Bengal kitty!

Untamed is the best cat food you can get. Our gravy and jelly products contain the highest-quality whole meat and are free from sugar, grains, or meat derivatives. 

Untamed is here to help your kitty’s coat shine and your allergies perish. 

Image (c) Untamed

We’ll keep your Bengal’s skin and coat shiny and hydrated with meals that are:

  1. High in protein—Our products contain more than 60% whole meat and fish, which is twice as much as most other manufacturers
  2. Perfectly balanced—All recipes on our menu are vet-formulated, ensuring the perfect balance of proteins and fat
  3. Allergen-free—You won’t see any common allergens in our products. They’re also free from harsh preservatives and artificial taste enhancers. If your kitty has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, they can try our single-source-protein dishes—Chocka Chicken and Tuck-in Tuna in Jelly
  4. Delicious—We steam our food to lock in all the nutrients and flavours and eliminate pathogens

Take our Try Now quiz to order a taster pack at a killer rate.

No need for cat food hunting—Untamed will knock on your door!

You can get your paws on Untamed in a day—all you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Answer a few questions about your kitty
  2. Tailor a meal plan to suit your cat's preferences and life stage
  3. Order your trial pack

You can always change the order from your account. We can replenish your food pantry around the same time every month with a fresh batch of Untamed delicacies. 

Benefits you should expect after switching to Untamed

Besides glowing skin and coat, switching to Untamed brings various health perks to your kitty. Here are some benefits to look forward to:

Timeline

The Untamed effect

Week 1

Week 8

Week 16

For life

  • Natural weight control
  • Efficient immune response